Pipeline Protester’s Elderly Exploitation Case Dismissed

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Authorities have dropped a second charge against a Bismarck woman accused of abusing and exploiting her elderly mother during protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The Bismarck Tribune reports authorities have dismissed a charge of felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult against Kathleen Bennett. Prosecutor Marina Spahr cited in part the fact that Bennett’s mother has died.

Bennett, 59, was accused of leaving her 82-year-old mother with dementia tied to a chair in a protest camp in North Dakota while she attended demonstrations in December 2016. The mother was taken to a hospital during a blizzard. Hospital staff said she was frail and malnourished.

Bennett also was charged with endangering a vulnerable adult. The defense and prosecution agreed in November to dismiss that case with $2,050 in fines forfeited from Bennett’s bond.

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